It occurred to me that any list we put together now would also be constructed in a similar way. How would this list be viewed in the future? Probably in exactly the same way and with the same difficulties in interpretation.
At the moment, most macro-moths would be identified by referring to their picture in Bernard Skinner's Moth's of the British Isles (1984 and 1998). Go back in time and this would be replaced by South, further still by other works. When you find a moth you donít recognise (or it is a known 'difficult' species) you tend to look at the picture and check the text. This creates some problems with similar species as the account may indicate that this is a likely species.
As a good example take the Peacock Moth Macaria notata and Sharp-angled Peacock Macaria alternata. Both species fly at similar times and (according to Skinner) both occur 'locally in southern England'. Both are recorded (by recorders) here but we believe that all records are likely to be alternata. No recent specimen of notata has been determined as far as I am aware. When a good key is provided to distinguish between the two (like in Skinner) this tends to force you into making a decision!
However, once you know that notata is unlikely, then you will tend to record all as alternata. This creates a new problem: if notata did occur now, or in future, it may be overlooked.
So, I think that the local context of species - and not just confusing ones - is very important in any checklist.
Historically, Turner (1955) gives the Peacock Moth as 'Scarce and local, but appears to be increasing slightly' and the Sharp-angled Peacock as 'Generally distributed, but not very common'. Do we now assume that his Peacock Moth's are in error? Or, that the species disappeared some time between then and now? Or that perhaps we do get this species in some localities and it just needs to be determined correctly?
Now, imagine this problem multiplied over hundreds of similar micro-moths where we are not sure how the determination was made 50 or more years ago!